Managing Your Hearing Aid
You don’t want to get home and find you can’t put your hearing aids in, or for some reason you can’t turn them off, or adjust them for different situations. It’s essential to the success of your hearing aid fitting that you know how to handle your hearing aids.
Can you manage the hearing aid by yourself before you leave the clinic?
Before you leave the fitting appointment, check once again you’re comfortable with putting your hearing aids in and removing them. If not, practice again. Get your significant other to have a go at putting them in for you as well, just in case you forget how to do it when you get home. Some people will wear their hearing aids out of the clinic, but this is often not advisable, especially in areas with high traffic – it will take a while to build up to that level of noise. Once you get home, practice putting the hearing aids in on your own, in the comfort of your own space. Be patient with yourself if you’re having some trouble. Put the hearing aids down, have a cup of tea and come back to them later. Persistence is the key. If you’re still not managing them well at your follow-up appointment, make sure you let the clinician know.
Left ear, right ear
Hearing aids are designed to fit in only one ear, but also the prescription for each of your ears is usually different. So the right hearing aid must only go in the right ear and the left one, only in the left ear. Your clinician will have shown you how to differentiate between each side. Generally there is a colour somewhere on each aid. Red colour is for the right ear, blue for the left. If you do accidentally try and put the wrong hearing aid in your ear, you’ll find it either difficult to insert (particularly for in-the-ear models) or if it’s a behind-the-ear style of hearing aid, it will sit at a funny angle over your ear.
Can you change the batteries?
This was mentioned above and is another point to be clear on before you leave your appointment. Most batteries last less than a week so the likelihood of you having to change your battery prior to your next appointment is high. Make sure you’re comfortable with changing batteries. They’re very small so to make it easier, you’ll find in your maintenance kit a small tool with a magnet on one end. Use this tool to remove a flat/used battery and put in a new one. You also need to ensure you orientate the battery the correct way in the battery case. If you don’t, the battery door won’t close easily. If you’re finding you need to force the door closed, you’ve probably got the battery in the wrong way.
Questions to ask
At the beginning of Step 6 we mentioned it’s a good idea to have some questions ready before you go to your hearing aid fitting appointment. Perhaps you have some in mind, or maybe you’re not sure what questions to put to the clinician. Below are some vital questions you should ask and be clear on the answers before you leave the appointment.
How long is my trial period?
Is it 30 days? It is 45 days? Or something different? Ask the clinician and get them to write down the end date of your trial period. You may even be asked to sign a ‘contract’ showing you’ve been told about the trial period and you understand when your trial ends.
At the end of this Hearing Aid Buyer’s Guide is a section with Checklists. Here you can make note of a number of things, including your trial period end date.
What happens if I forget how to put in my hearing aid?
A good question to ask. There are a number of answers you may be given including:
- Ask your significant other to help you
- Check your hearing aid user’s manual to see if there are any tips
- If you use a smartphone app with your hearing aid, check to see if there are any helpful videos on how to put your hearing aid in
- Practice and be persistent – sometimes a few practices will help you get the knack
- Contact the hearing clinic or your clinician (via phone or on the smartphone app contact function). You may need to come back for a quick appointment to get some confidence with putting your hearing aids in.
When is my next appointment?
Get the clinician to write down your next appointment. Record it in the Checklist section of this Guide. Make sure you know how to contact the clinic if you need to change your appointment for any reason.
What happens if my hearing aid is too loud?
Having an understanding of how to adjust the volume of your hearing aids, or changing the programs to a quieter setting is important. You may have a volume control button on your hearing aid or have a smartphone app that can adjust the volume for you. If the overall sound of the hearing aid is too loud and you find it uncomfortable to wear, let your clinician know immediately as adjustments may need to be made.
What happens if the hearing aid gets damaged/lost/wet?
This is a very important question as it relates to the warranty of your hearing aid. Know how long your warranty is and what it covers. Depending on the type of damage or how your hearing aid got wet, these issues may be fixed quickly and without any problems. Ask your clinician to explain what to do in each of these circumstances, should they occur.